By Cara McClain
People say a lot of things about Pope Francis.
They say he is an extrovert in comparison with the introspective Pope Benedict, who preceded him. Some say he is a reform-minded antidote to Benedict’s staunch conservatism. Others say he is not all that different from his predecessor. Some argue that he is a skillful politician at heart.
But some journalists for Catholic news services say the secular media cannot quite get him right.
“He is more of an extrovert; he uses imagery and metaphors,” says Matt Hadro, a correspondent for the Catholic News Agency in Washington, D.C. “Because he has a very different style, people assume that this papacy is different from previous papacies. It’s actually not so. There is continuity there.”
One issue, says Charles Collins, a correspondent for Radio Vatican in Vatican City, is that the media and the public have been quick to try to fit the pope in a particular ideological box.
“A lot of people project themselves onto Pope Francis,” he says. “I think that Pope Benedict was seen as a conservative figure, whereas Pope Francis is seen as a progressive figure. And in both cases it’s not quite true.”
In October, Pope Francis made headlines worldwide when he told an audience at the Vatican that evolutionary theory and the Big Bang are not inconsistent with the Bible. In fact, as Newsweek and some other outlets reported, Pope Pius XII had opened the church to discussions of evolution as far back as 1950. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict had also spoken supportively of evolution, even as they argued that the soul was bestowed on humans by God even as evolution may have shaped other aspects of life.admin in Student Work